What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive Technology refers to any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities. (Section 300.5)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA 1997 (Public Law 105-17), mandates the provision of assistive technology and offers clear definitions of assistive technology devices and services.
Assistive Technology Services
Any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. (Section 300.5)
Selecting, Designing, & Customizing Devices
Maintaining & Repairing Devices
Training/Technical Assistance - student, family and school service providers
Need for Assistive Technology
The need for assistive technology will be determined by using the following procedure:
- Assistive Technology needs to be considered by team members at all PPT meetings.
- If team members identify that a student is having difficulty, the team will discuss the possible causes and whether or not technology solutions may assist the student.
- The Assistive Technology Consideration form will then be completed.
- If the team identifies Assistive Technology needs, a consultation/observation by an Assistive Technology Team member will be recommended.
- Following the consultation/observation the Assistive Technology team will make recommendations for trial of appropriate technology or for further evaluation if necessary.
- During a specified time frame, Assistive Technology trials are completed and data is collected.
- If specific assistive technology is identified as being needed to accomplish goals and objectives and/or access the curriculum, it will be included in the student’s IEP or 504 Plan.
Types of Assistive Technology
There are three main categories of assistive technology: no tech, low tech and high tech:
No tech- Items that are assistive to the student, but were not created by technology. Examples would be a highlighter, raised lines on paper, pencil grips, slant board, and white board.
Low tech-These devices usually are less expensive and may include pictures, objects, static display boards, choice boards, eye gaze boards, and some voice output devices or switches (Big Macks, Switch Activated Toys).
High Tech- These devices may include computer systems, tablets, augmentative communication devices.
Assistive Technology Team Members
Erica Herbert, OTR/L, ATP Occupational Therapist, Assistive Technology Professional
Lisa Notti, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist
Susan Dewitt, M.S., CCC-SLP, Speech Language Pathologist
Jessica Bouchard, Special Education Teacher
Melissa Salierno, M.S., CCC-SLP, Speech Language Pathologist